East Side Story: The Next Chapter

Hello East Side Story friends and family,

Over the course of the past few years, it has been brought to my attention by several close friends and respected authors that some of the best stories ever written have often taken years to complete. That said, after 5 years of outlining and brainstorming the plot of our biggest story to date, we are finally ready to finish up the first draft of the first chapter of East Side Story. This is a true story. Spoiler alert: we have decided to close the retail portion of East Side Story. Our final day of business at the store will be Saturday, July 29, 2017.

Talk about one heck of an attention grab. Now, what does that mean?

If you are still reading this, then you already know that East Side Story is much more than a just a small retail store that became the first, only, and always refreshing literary haven to sell works solely created by Nashville residents. You also know there are many facets beyond simply trading paper for paper to what we have worked hard to build and share with you since day one. That said, it is time for us to change our focus and game plan. We have always had a fluid mission and business model, and now we are jumping head and heart first into new waters, going with the flow towards more tributaries just over the horizon. Point being, and metaphors aside, we know we must adapt and elevate our game inside this ever-changin’ world in which we live in, in order to remain an integral part of the greater literary whole.

When we first started this East Side Story idea, there was a black hole void of solutions for local authors, self and traditionally published. Aside from standing on the street corner, there was no home to promote and sell local works to the offline public. Fast forward to 2017, we now live in a city that has welcomed a plethora of bookstores and each flourish in varied and wondrous niches to help local authors find their own creative ways to reach the hands and hearts of new audiences on and off the page.

Five years ago, I left a steady job working alongside family to follow my crazy intuition and jump into the great unknown, totally immersing myself in all things Nashville. I applied and was accepted into a Masters program at Sewanee, and then less than a month later won a contest with local legends Proof Branding. With Proof’s help, my wife and I made a dream into a reality, all because we articulated the concept for the need and demand of a TRULY independent local bookstore. It also helped that there was an immediate opening at the perfect little location found in the brilliant The Idea Hatchery too, built and run by my longtime friends Bret and Meg MacFadyen. Enough good things cannot ever be said about Bret and Meg and what they mean to our family, East Side Story, and all of Nashville. After only a brief talk and visit with Bret, we signed the lease and set out to stock the bookstore. The word spread like wildfire across the literary scene through social media, word of mouth, and the local and regional newspapers. In less than two weeks, I had enough inventory to pack the place just in time to formally open our doors and introduce our concept at that year’s Tomato Arts Fest.

And wouldn’t you know, we were accepted by the writers and readers right off the bat. There are so many moments, conversations, stories of meeting strangers and leaving friends, giving tourism advice to visitors so they don’t miss the REAL Nashville off Broadway, projects that connected artists who never knew about each other before meeting in our store, times when local authors met each other and shared tips on their craft in front of surprised patrons, and countless memories that we’ve made together during our tenure as shopkeepers … enough to fill a novel or trilogy even. There are so many things to be proud of and that we all take away from this specific venture, but one of the proudest, at least for us, is that we can honestly say we never turned away any author who came to us and asked to get involved in this story. In fact, until very recently (because we knew the change was coming), we never turned away anyone from putting at least one book in our store. If someone came into our store and asked for a particular author who wasn’t stocked, I could simply tell them the truth that either they didn’t’ know about us yet or they didn’t want to be associated with the East Side Story. But hey, we only do what we can do. And we did.

Along the course of this first chapter, we have been very transparent and open to attempting pretty much any and every fun creative idea we could imagine and had the time and energy to add it to our ever-growing plate. We promise to continue in that same light. And although the physical bookstore is closing, we do not plan on ending any of the other ideas we have created and nurtured over the course of the past 5 years. Please stay tuned for your regular broadcasts of East Side Storytellin’ and a couple of next level plans in the works too. Again, point being, we aren’t leaving you.

I could write for days in this letter, listing names and sharing stories of thanks for weeks, but I only need to say a few more things now so I can get busy on the new stuff.

First and foremost, we consider ourselves very lucky to have been so welcomed into this literary community-at-large and to be a small part of the bigger story Nashville is writing these days and will continue to write into the future. Nashville is a very special place that is experiencing a very special moment with impeccable characters and creative visionaries right now.

We called ourselves proprietors because it sounded better than owners, but the truth is that we never owned anything. We found ourselves with a golden opportunity and a set of golden keys to open the door to something greater than ourselves. We left one family business to begin another, eventually, through blood, sweat, and tears, growing a 16 by 16 empty box into an authentic Ma and Pa bookstore … literally changing a desk full of books into a simple changing table for our son along the way. We couldn’t have done it alone, and we didn’t do this alone. We are excited to grow our crazy ideas and community relations even further, and we hope you stick around and stay tuned for the next chapter in our story. After all, this is OUR story, all together now.

Thank you for being YOU, and please remember to be nice to one another out there. Again, remember to be nice to one another out there.

As you were, busy but happy.

Chuck

PS- Although the store phone will not stay connected, you will still be able to connect with us via the website and our store email addresses, in case you don’t run into us around the neighborhood or after the next reading down the street.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

hulK June 29, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Best wishes for your next dream and what an impact you’ve made in th local community.
Thanks for sharing. Wishing you well!! HulK

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chuck June 29, 2017 at 1:27 pm

Thanks! You inspire us daily. Love you too!

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Leslie Allen June 29, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Wow! Your little corner of literary happiness will be missed. I know whatever you do next will be a delightful success. Thanks for your contributions to the neighborhood and the broader literary world. Best wishes in your next endeavors!

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chuck June 29, 2017 at 1:26 pm

The feeling is mutual! Love ya!

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C2 June 29, 2017 at 3:43 pm

Glad ESST is still rolling! Physical bookstore or not, the impact you continue to make on your community will surely continue to positively affect Nashville!
Keep up the good and always uplifting work! You’ve got vision and courage that inspires!

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Dorothy June 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm

On to the next adventure! Well done, Sir Chuck. I will see you anon.

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chuck July 6, 2017 at 9:55 pm

THANK YOU, Dorothy. You are a solid friend.

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Janet June 29, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Thank you for the last five years. Looking forward to following your story on into the next chapter. Best wishes!

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chuck July 6, 2017 at 9:54 pm

No. Thank YOU

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Vikki June 29, 2017 at 5:36 pm

Sad I never had an opportunity to visit East Side Story….certainly wanted to, but I was an online stalker.

Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors. I have no doubt you’ll succeed in whatever that may be. Chuck, I’ve read several things and articles you’ve posted in the past and your talent to capture the reader with your style and words makes me wonder if there could be a book forthcoming one of these days.

Vikki (Cousin you’ve never met)

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chuck July 6, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Your words are so kind. The book is in the making. I shall hand deliver a copy when finished. Thanks for your love and support.

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Breck June 30, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Chuck… How Amazing! Cannot wait to hear what you & Emily have in store! Miss you guys & That little Avett Otis too!!!

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chuck July 6, 2017 at 9:58 pm

Thanks! Maybe we’ll see ya on the river sooner than later.

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Jo Dean July 11, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Wow! I JUST found you, and you found for me exactly what I was looking for, thriller/mystery writer J. T. Ellison! Best of luck to you and your family.

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Georganne Harmon July 17, 2017 at 9:13 pm

Thank you, Chuck! I look forward to seeing you along the way as the journey continues, and I salute you for your wonderful, kind, and encouraging service to Nashville writers.

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chuck July 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Thanks, Georganne. Already looking forward to seeing you again too. Love ya!

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Amy E. Hall July 18, 2017 at 10:12 pm

I was thrilled to be able to launch my most recent poetry chapbook, Bathroom Poems, at ESS and was honored to be a featured author at East Side Storytellin’. I will miss your cozy space – and Emily’s custom art – but wish you all the best as you craft your next draft.

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chuck July 19, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Shucks, amiga, your friendship and support mean the world to us. Looking forward to our next brainstorm and hang already. Love ya.

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A. Heyward July 27, 2017 at 12:53 pm

This is heartbreaking for me on so many levels! You and your wife were the only one who would carry my book in your store. I hope and pray your new venture is truly blessed and successful. Much LOVE!!

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chuck July 31, 2017 at 1:10 pm

It’s only the closing of the first chapter and beginning of more good things to come for all involved. We will continue to support your work as you grow as an author. Keep us posted when book #2 comes out so we can help. Thanks for the love!

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